St. Joseph teachers react to Miss America backlash on Twitter - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

St. Joseph teachers react to Miss America backlash on Twitter


She may have been Miss New York, but the new Miss America is a St. Joseph High School, Michigan grad.

Nina Davuluri made history Sunday night when she was crowned the first Indian-American Miss America.

As she was crowned, social media erupted.

While many showed support, some Twitter users lashed out, saying the new Miss America wasn't "American enough."

There are plenty of people right here in Michiana who are proud to see Davuluri crowned.

"It was just wonderful to see someone from our area, go that far," says Christine Waterhouse who knows Nina from her dancing days in St. Joe. She was her teacher at Dance Arts.

Watching the talent portion, a Bollywood dance number, was a particularly proud moment for Waterhouse.

"I was so excited to see that's what she was still doing. She performed that type of dance at the variety show when she was in 8th grade with her sister and again in High School," says Waterhouse.

Her 8th grade US History teacher at Upton Middle School in St. Joe was also proud to hear the news.

"She was an excellent student and wonderful citizen and just a real hardworking kid and we couldn't be more proud of her," says Nina's US History teacher, Dave Leonard.

The cheers and shouts came to a halt as people took to Twitter making remarks like, "It's Miss AMERICA, not Miss Pakistan" and "Miss America did you mean Miss Al Qaeda?"

"I think that's an absolute shame," says Waterhouse.

Those who knew her as the former Miss Southwest Teen say those comments are not only off-base, but an ignorant judgement.

Waterhouse says, "Miss America represents America, which is a melting pot of nationalities."

"As her US History teacher, I can tell you that the young lady was an outstanding citizen and fantastic student and demonstrated while she was here in our school system, the utmost respect and love for her country," says Leonard.

Her teachers say Nina will turn the experience into a positive one.

"She will hopefully educate people to say, 'Wait a minute here. What's your background? You're American, so why is that different?' I think it's a great lesson for our students that a lot of people are talking about it," says Waterhouse.

Nina is a native of Syracuse, New York.

She lived a number of years with her family in St. Joe, Michigan during the 2000's.

Nina was quite the athlete during her time in Southwest Michigan.

Her High School Tennis Coach says Nina's junior year, she was a semi-finalist at state and was first team all state her senior year.

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